BUDAPEST (JTA) — Holocaust denial and public incitement of racial hatred will be illegal under constitutional changes proposed by Hungary’s Socialist minority administration.
The proposed legislation is being drafted for publication within weeks.
The government, preoccupied with the recession that has hit Eastern Europe hard and made Hungary the host of some of the worst neo-Nazi rabble in Europe, has planned the legal reform in response to public outrage at recent provocations.
Education Minister István Hiller has called for legislation to make Holocaust denial a punishable offense. Interior Minister Tibor Draskovics has proposed constitutional amendments to outlaw racist agitation promoting hatred against any ethnic or religious minority. The amendments would bypass the Constitutional Court that has blocked several previous legislative attempts.
The amendments come on the heels of a demonstration provocatively staged to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day by several neo-Nazi organizations in the Castle district of Buda, the last foothold of the German-Hungarian defenders of this city against the Soviet invasion at the close of World War II.
The participants at the meeting included a 60-member uniformed “battalion” of the banned Hungarian Guard organization. The paramilitary movement is modeled on the murderous wartime Nazi Arrow Cross. Speakers addressing the demonstration stated that the Holocaust was a myth.
Hungary as well as its post-Communist Eastern European neighbors has witnessed since the onset of the global recession an intensification of right-wing violence described by Draskovics as “political terrorism.”